Peach and Raspberry Grunt

I don’t know about you, but usually by this point in August, while I am ready to do without the heat, the humidity, the Friday beach traffic (when I’m not actually one of the ones going to the beach)…I am just not ready to give up on Summer produce!  Fresh corn!?  Watermelons and honeydews so crisp and refreshing that they practically quench your thirst?!  Peaches and nectarines that are literally dripping with sweetness?!  I’d be willing to take these foods year round if I could, and I always love finding new ways to cook with them, even though they are just plain fine on their own.  That being said, when I came across an old-fashioned recipe for Blueberry Grunt on the Cook’s Country website, I thought to myself, “I really hate blueberries.”But, I happen to love fruit desserts and any type of topping that falls into the family of cobbler, so I wondered if I could give the formula some big tweaks and use fruits that I love, not to mention cut the original portion size down from 12, because I can’t even host that many people in my tiny apartment.  Luckily for me, and for you, I did!  So, presenting Peach and Raspberry Grunt!Ingredients:
Fruit Filling:
2.5 lbs peaches, firm to ripe, but not overripe
6 oz raspberries (one 1/2 pint container)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. triple sec or other orange liqueur (optional, and if you don’t use it, use 2 tbsp. water instead)
1 tsp. grated lemon zest plus 1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cornstarch

Topping:
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tbsp.
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the Filling:
Step 1:

Halve the peaches and remove the pits.  Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, and then cut these slices in half widthwise. Like so:

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Step 2:
Toss the peach slices in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with the sugar, cinnamon, water, triple sec, and lemon zest.  Cook over medium-low to medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is burning on the bottom of the pot; there is a lot of sugar in there!  The mixture will start to look jam-like and smell tantalizing.
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Step 3:
At this point, whisk the lemon juice and cornstarch together in a small bowl and stir it into the peaches.  Then turn off the heat and scatter the raspberries on top but do not stir them in!  Remove the pot from the heat and cover, while you work on making the grunt dough.For the Topping:
Step 4:

Combine the buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla in a small bowl or glass measuring cup.  It is important that the buttermilk is not freezing cold because as soon as you add the melted butter it will start to solidify again. If this does happen, just pour the whole thing into a small skillet and cook over very low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter has re-melted.
Note: Don’t have buttermilk on hand? No problem. You can make buttermilk from regular milk and white vinegar.  For a cup of milk you add 1 tbsp. of vinegar to it, stir to combine, and let sit for at least 10 minutes.  If the milk looks chunky and weird, you know you’re there. So, for the 1/3 cup called for here, you’ll need just a tsp. of vinegar.Step 5:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and just 3 tbsp. of the sugar together into a bowl.  Then pour the wet ingredients in and stir just to combine, until there are no streaks or spots of flour left in the dough.

Step 6:
Using two spoons, scoop out the dough and shape into golf ball-size mounds.

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At this point just drop them onto the peach mixture in the pot. You should get seven “biscuits”.
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Step 7:
This last step is kind of weird, but necessary.  Take the lid of your Dutch oven and wrap it in a clean kitchen towel.  Then place the lid on top of the pot.  See, the biscuits will be cooked by the steam in the pot, but that steam will go up to the lid and drip right back down, making soggy biscuits instead of fluffy ones.  By wrapping the lid in a towel, the towel traps that excess moisture.
Safety Note: If you have a gas burner, PLEASE make sure that the towel cannot, and will not, fall down and come in contact with the flame. You really don’t want to burn your kitchen down over Peach Grunt.
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Simmer the biscuits gently, over medium-low, or even low heat.  This is very important.  If you have the contents going at a full boil, the biscuits aren’t your concern, but the fruit burning and blackening into a tar-like substance on the bottom of your pot is.  Low, and slow, and steady, wins this race.  Cook at this gentle simmer for about 16-18 minutes, then head into the pot with a toothpick and test the biscuits.  As soon as your toothpick comes out clean, they are ready.  Again, if this takes longer at the risk of not burning the fruit, it’s worth it.Then, just combine the remaining tbsp. of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over the top.  This combo will create a deliciously crunchy and craggy exterior, the perfect contrast to those fluffy biscuits.
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This dessert will serve 4-6 people, depending on how much filling they want versus how many biscuits they want.  But if they are smart, they will want a lot of both.  Also, a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top never hurt anybody.Happy eating!
~Lauren
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